Telemedicine ad
A telemedicine ad for Riverside Medical Clinic

The coronavirus pandemic and its shelter-in-place lifestyle have propelled a renewed acceptance of telemedicine as an alternative way to provide healthcare. As part of this trend, a San Diego marketing agency recently helped their medical clinic client with an advertising campaign to encourage patients who wanted to see a doctor to first use a smartphone or computer.

Brand Savants, headquartered in Point Loma, has served Riverside Medical Clinic for the past 20 years. The clinic includes 195 providers spread over seven locations in Riverside County.

Founded in 2002 by Russ Cornelius, Brand Savants quickly developed a telemedicine-focused ad campaign for Riverside Medical Clinic that included newspaper, digital outdoor boards, radio, TV, digital ads and social media. Media buy expenditures for the campaign were not disclosed.

“I was impressed that Riverside Medicine Clinic was exceptionally proactive in setting up the telemedicine infrastructure within days and make it available for their patients,” said Cornelius. “They worked closely with their numerous healthcare insurance organizations to authorize telemedicine. We were tasked with aggressively getting out the messaging into the media landscape. The strategy was to present telemedicine as a public service and available to patients as quickly and broadly as possible.”

Cornelius said Riverside County media outlets were generous in spreading the word because they, too, shared a concern to limit exposure to the virus and curb the disease’s spread.

“Telemedicine has been a hard sell in the past. It has faced resistance over reimbursement, privacy and physician liability issues, plus a general avoidance to digital health. But, I believe we will look back when life after COVID-19 begins and see how this virus was a game-changer for telemedicine,” said Cornelius. “I also expect that increased familiarity with telemedicine will drive longer-term growth for the industry and encourage more venture investment. In fact, a number of its first-time telemedicine users for Riverside Medical Clinic already have become repeat visitors.”

Former KFMB-FM Switches Call Letters to KFBG-FM

Local Media San Diego announced the Federal Communications Commission has approved a call-letter change for its recently acquired FM radio station from KFMB to KFBG, which identifies itself as “100.7 BIG-FM.”

The news comes after a conversation two weeks ago with Program Director Garett Michaels, who told the Times of San Diego, “Hopefully, we’ll know something in the next month or so,” about the FCC application for new call letters.

“With the FCC process, you just never know, but we’re absolutely thrilled it happened sooner than expected,” Michaels said. “We were hoping for a combination of the letters B and G to get close to the word “big” and K and F as a connection with the previous call letters. It would have been great to get KBIG, but those call letters already are taken. Still, we can do a lot with KFBG.”

KBIG-FM, an adult contemporary station operated in Los Angeles by iHeart Media, calls itself 104.3 MY-FM.

In January, Local Media San Diego announced its acquisition of KFMB-FM and its sister KFMB-AM station from Tegna for a reported $5 million. When the FCC approved the sale on March 17, the AM station was sold to iHeart San Diego for an undisclosed price, while KFMB-FM was added to Local Media San Diego’s three other stations, XHRM-FM Magic 92.5, XHTZ-FM Z-90.3 and XTRA-FM 91X.

Alternative Strategies Hired by Chula Vista Business Group

Alternative Strategies, a San Diego marketing agency, announced it has been hired by The Third Avenue Village Association, a nonprofit business group representing property owners and businesses on Third Avenue in Chula Vista.

According to Alternative Strategies owner William Lopez, his firm will begin by promoting Third Avenue businesses that are open during the COVID-19 shutdown using public relations and social media.

“I am humbled and honored to play a part in supporting these important businesses as they move forward to provide essential services to the community during these stressful times,” said Lopez. “There is never a better time than now to reach out to customers with useful updates and information. Customers need to be informed now more than ever about updates related to each business, including potential reduced operating hours and significant protocols that may impact their visit.”

Alternative Strategies, currently in its 20th year in business, serves clients in the restaurant and hospitality industries.

PRSA Hosting Virtual Coffee Mixer

The Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego-Imperial Counties chapter will host a virtual coffee mixer from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, over the Zoom online meeting platform. PRSA said chat topics will range from anything PR to coping with a new work-from-home culture to streaming viewing in off time.

Providing technical assistance for the virtual event will be the Broom Center at San Diego State University. Established in 2013, the Broom Center supports an internship program for public relations students, including student advising and career development, and provide​s​ training programs for working professionals and supports research activities for faculty and graduate students.

It is named after Glen Broom, who taught at SDSU for 28 years and served as chair of the SDSU Department of Journalism from 1989 to 1995.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.